Down 2-0 (25-22, 25-19) in the huge 33rd District volleyball battle on the other side of town, Ryle Raiders Head Coach Tasha Lovins and staff let assistant Jesse Parmley talked to the players before starting the third set.
Parmley’s speech worked as Ryle (9-6) won the next three sets by 25-18, 25-15, 15-5 scores over Cooper. Ryle finished 3-0 in district seed play earning the top seed in the district tournament to be played at Boone County in October.
“I am very fortunate for my assistant coaches and Coach Jesse is naturally a motivator,” Lovins said. “He just kind of knows what to say at the right times. So I’m like, ‘Here. Take over.’ He stepped in and reminded them of what Ryle volleyball is and what they’re identity is. That’s the main thing.”
Cooper (12-3) came into the game 1-0 in district seed play. The Jaguars can still wrap up the second seed in the district tournament. They have a huge home game against Conner (9-5) on Sept. 20 at 7 p.m.
Ryle has won four meetings in a row in the series. Three of the last six have gone to five sets.
“We know Ryle is a good team. You can never let up on a team like Ryle,” said Michelle Isaac, Cooper Head Coach. “We let up and that was our biggest downfall. I think we just ran out of gas. I’m not sure for what reason. No good team is going to lay down for you. Sometimes you need a loss to redirect yourself. We can use that with some tough competition coming up.”
Both teams tried their best to control the net and rev into a solid offensive rhythm making the opponent defend the entire floor. Ryle did it better in the last three games recording 70 kills, 99 digs, eight blocks, 67 assists and 13 aces overall.
“We realized we weren’t working together as a team,” said Olivia Karlosky, Ryle sophomore hitter. “As soon as we started doing that, we took the lead and took over. We had to get stuff done and we did.”
Junior outside hitter and setter Kiana Dinn led the way with 21 kills and 28 assists. Senior setter and defensive specialist Maddie Clark had 31 assists and four aces. Freshman hitter and setter Morgan Heater had 18 kills and 24 digs. Junior defensive specialist Alexis Woolf had 24 digs.
Ryle had a number of players involved in the win. Sophomore setter/hitter Rebecca Kramer had 12 kills and junior hitter Abby Lester had 10.
“We started off rough because it’s a new team,” Heater said. “We probably have eight new girls (to varsity). We trained to get to this part really working hard to beat the teams we need to.”
Cooper had 49 kills, 52 digs, five blocks, 43 assists and two aces. Junior setter Sadie Smith had 38 assists and senior defensive specialist Chloe Fortner had 15 digs.
The Jaguars put on a show offensively when in better rhythm in the first two sets. Senior hitter Rylie Depue had 21 kills and senior hitter Holland Morris had 10. Sophomore setter/hitter Audrey Schilling had 10 kills and 10 digs.
Ryle scored the first three points of the first set. Cooper came back and went ahead 10-6 after a Schilling kill. Junior middle blocker Abby Kniffin had a kill to put Cooper up 13-9. Cooper led 24-19 before Ryle scored four in a row. But a Morris kill ended that set.
Depue had an ace to give Cooper a 6-3 advantage in the second set. Ryle came back to go up 9-6 behind two Dinn aces and a Kramer kill.
Cooper rallied to go up 19-16 following a Depue kill. Kniffin had a block to make it 22-19 Jaguars before Morris landed a kill to help the Jaguars take the second set.
“We executed the game plan in the first two sets,” Isaac said. “We got out of our team play. That’s what (hurt us).”
Cooper jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the third set. But two Dinn kills and a Lester kill tied the set at four.
Tied 9-9, Ryle ran off four in a row off two Kramer blocks and a junior defensive specialist Clara Hansel ace. Four straight Dinn kills gave Ryle a 21-14 advantage. A Heater kill finished off the third game.
Ryle led 6-3 early in the fourth set on kills by Dinn and Karlosky. Clark had three aces in a row to put the Raiders up 16-10. Ryle won the fourth game on a net error.
Ryle carried the momentum into the fifth set scoring six straight to go up 7-1. Dinn and Karlosky had two kills during that run. Another Kramer kill gave the Raiders an 11-3 lead. Heater had a kill and block to finish the game.
“You never know who the ball is going to,” Lovins said. “Obviously, Kiana is dominant. But if you look at those kills, we spread it out pretty well. We were down in Louisville over the weekend and we played (top-ranked) Assumption, Mercy, top teams from Ohio and Missouri. Even though the win-loss (record) didn’t go our way, we played with the competition. That only makes us better and be able to handle tough sets like this.”
Neither team plays again for a week. Ryle plays host to Highlands (5-8) on Sept. 20 at 7 p.m. Cooper plays in the Kentucky Challenge at Lexington Paul Dunbar next week against an opponent to be determined.
Conner 3, Bishop Brossart 1
The Cougars (9-5) won the non-region match-up with the Mustangs (8-4).
Brossart had 30 kills, eight blocks, 29 assists, 72 digs and six aces in the loss. Eighth grade setter Aubrey Rebholz had 24 assists and 12 digs. Junior libero Maddie Kremer had 21 digs with senior Ava Thomas tallying 13. Junior Kate Neltner had eight kills, 11 digs and sophomore Corrine Blackburn recording 13 kills and two blocks.
Bishop Brossart plays at St. Henry (13-5) on Wednesday at 7 p.m. Conner travels to Villa Madonna (14-2) on Thursday for a 7 p.m. game.
Other Volleyball Scores
Ludlow 2 (25-17, 25-22), Bellevue 0
Scott 3 (25-14, 25-11, 25-9), Boone County 0
Calvary Christian 2 (25-27, 25-17, 25-18), Dayton 1
Frederick Douglass 3 (25-27, 25-9, 25-17, 25-12), Simon Kenton 1
Holy Cross 3 (25-13, 25-9, 25-17), Lloyd Memorial 0
Newport Central Catholic 3 (25-16, 25-14, 25-23), Beechwood 0
Notre Dame 3 (25-18, 25-14, 25-23), Roger Bacon (Ohio) 0
Villa Madonna 3 (25-14, 25-19, 25-22), Heritage Academy 0
Dixie Heights 3, Ryle 1
The Colonels (10-1-1) scored twice in the second half to down the host Ryle Raiders (5-3-2) in a 9th Region showdown.
“I can’t be more proud of these guys,” said Trey Crone, Dixie Heights Head Coach. “This team is motivated. This team is eager to win. We know this region is going to be tough. There’s a lot of talent. But our guys are focused on getting better every day. We’re looking forward to a good rest of the season.”
Senior goalkeeper Braden Blackburn had five saves for the Colonels.
Senior Mehnen Dahi scored both goals for Dixie Heights including one in the final 20 minutes to give the Colonels the two-goal lead. He has four on the season.
“It means a lot to score two goals in these kind of games because it helped the team,” Dahi said. “It was a rough game. (But) that (second goal) gave us some confidence.”
Senior Bennett Gerak had the other goal with seniors Reed Brixey and Ryder Kennedy tallying one assist each. Gerak has 12 goals and 14 assists on the season.
“This is a preview of region. (Ryle) is a tough team,” Kennedy said. “We’re probably going to see them again. We proved that we can be the best in the region if we keep playing like that the rest of the season. We have a skilled team.”
Junior midfielder Diego Hoenderkamp had the goal for the Raiders. He has 11 on the season.
Dixie Heights travels to Beechwood (5-7-1) on Thursday for an 8 p.m. game. Ryle travels to Boone County (4-7) on the same day for a 7:30 p.m. game.
Highlands 4, Newport Central Catholic 2
The Bluebirds (6-4-2) handed the Thoroughbreds (10-1-2) their first loss of the season in front of the high turn-out at Tower Park the game usually brings.
“The guys were definitely motivated to play and they put a lot of nice things together,” said Brandon Ponchak, Highlands Head Coach. “They came out firing right away and didn’t really stop, which was great to see, especially coming off a win to a good Lafayette team. Credit to the guys. Everyone saw some minutes.”
Highlands senior forward Colin Pieper set the tone early with his 15th goal of the season. But junior Zach DeSylva came off the bench to score his first two goals of the season for Highlands.
Junior Jack Haggard scoring the other one. Senior midfielder Caden Schroeder and senior forward Jack Lavin had two assists each. Senior goalkeeper Conner Mathis had one save.
“We talked before the game about going out and starting off strong because that’s what (NewCath) is going to do,” Pieper said. “But we needed to score the first goal or it could go down from there so that’s what we did.”
Highlands won its 13th in a row over NewCath. The last Thoroughbred win in the series came Oct. 13, 2015.
The Bluebirds play host to Holy Cross (5-5) on Thursday at 8 p.m. NewCath plays host to Bishop Brossart (7-3-2) on Saturday at 2 p.m. in the All “A” 9th/10th Region State Sectional game.
Covington Catholic 5, Beechwood 2
The Colonels (6-6) downed the Tigers (5-7-1) on the road in a key 35th District game.
“Beechwood is pretty senior-heavy this year,” said Jeremy Robertson, CovCath Head Coach. “I’ve looked at their results and their results have been pretty decent. Some of losses have been close. We knew it would be a good game going in just because we’re kind of up and down trying to grab the handle bars a bit and trying to play at a consistent level. It was a great crowd so we knew we had to come out and play (hard) for sure.”
Senior midfielder Ethan Roszkowski had a hat trick of three goals to lead CovCath. Sophomore Andrew Roland and senior Joseph Planicka had the other two Colonel goals. Roland added an assist with senior Mac Tierney, junior Aiden Leach, seniors Sean Dusing and Josh Strange adding assists.
Sophomore goalkeeper Auggie Eilerman played the first half for the Colonels and junior Lucas Short played the second half. Eilerman had one save.
Freshman Cole Bishop and senior Andrew Goodwin had the Beechwood goals. Senior Jared Aguilar had two assists for the Tigers with freshman goalkeeper Warner Platt tallying 11 saves.
CovCath is 6-0 all-time against Beechwood. The Tigers started their program in 2015.
CovCath travels to Cincinnati (Ohio) McNicholas (4-3) on Thursday for a 7 p.m. game. Beechwood travels to Dixie Heights (10-1-1) for an 8 p.m. game.
Other Boys Soccer Scores
Boone County 4, Villa Madonna 0
Campbell County 3, Harrison County 0
Conner 0, Simon Kenton 0
Holy Cross 5, Holmes 1
Scott 4, Pendleton County 1
Walton-Verona 2, Scott County 1
Cincinnati (Ohio) McNicholas 3, St. Henry 0